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Newly Diagnosed: Seeking Advice on IgG vs IgM tests

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Let me begin by saying I have never found a community more helpful and supportive than this one. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you all enough for the endless support and advice that you have offered without asking for anything in return. I have been browsing this forum quietly for several weeks and the information you all have shared has been so, so important to me. And after having several lackadaisical conversations with my doctor I feel like it's time to speak up and ask for some advice.


Can someone explain to me the difference between an IgG test and an IgM test? From my research, it seems like IgM tests are mostly garbage and end up giving people more false negatives than not. My IgG test came back positive and my IgM test negative. My doctor said the IgM test might help us figure out if I was exposed in the last six months or not.


Long story short: I broke up with my exgf in December. Tested negative for both HSV1 and HSV2 in Feb. Had a summer fling a handful of times in June/July. Tested positive for HSV 2 at the end of August. My doctor seems to think my exgirlfriend passed it to me and my test in February was a false negative due to the infamous HSV dormant period. Plus, summer fling got tested after I told her of my status and her tests came back negative.


So basically, I am trying to decide if I should ask my ex to get tested. I am a little afraid of being vulnerable to her but, at the end of the day, if this helps protect other people...it's worth it.


Would love everyone's two cents on this! Thank you for taking the time to read this and if there's anything I can clarify, please let me know! <3


(oh, ps, if it helps: I am a lady who looooves ladies)

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The IGM is pretty well considered to be useless by the Dr's and researchers at the top of the Herpes knowledge base.


Do you know your numbers for your HSV IGG test? That one is very accurate if the number is over 3.5. Positive is considered to be over 1.1 but there are a lot of false positives between those 2 numbers. I always tell people to get a copy of any test they get (STD or otherwise) for your records. So if you don't have that, I'd call the Dr and ask that they email you a copy ASAP.


Your Dr likely IS right about where you got it, so you may want to gird your loins for a talk with your ex :/




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@WCSDancer2010 thank you for your response! And thank you for taking the time to respond to so many people on this forum. Can't even tell you how much the time you have put into helping people means to me!


To answer your question, my IgG test in August came back at 6.4. I asked my doctor to test me again (she kind of rolled her eyes but I made her do it for my own sanity) a couple weeks later, and that came back at 7.2. Do these higher numbers mean it is something I have had for a while? That's another thing I'm unsure about...especially since I have been asymptomatic so far.


I'm not too worried about the discussion with the ex. While we are not on the best terms ever, it could be a lot worse. I'm lucky enough to be starting a new relationship with a lovely woman who has been overwhelmingly supportive and caring during this time, so I'm feeling pretty lucky about that at the moment.


Also, another question: I asked my doctor if I should go on antiviral meds. She said she thought it would be "overkill" because I have been asymptomatic. I really just don't want to put anyone else at risk though, so I'm not sure.


Thanks everyone!

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It certainly sounds like you have had this awhile .. it generally takes about 4-6 months for the antibodies to get high enough to come up with a conclusive positive of 3.5 or higher. Many people fake FAR longer to get to that number.


As far as being asymptomatic ... remember that 80% of the population with H doesn't know they have it ... so it's very possible you are one of the "lucky ones" to not have OB's ... and even luckier now that you know because you can do something to protect future partners ... many find out they have H when a partner has their first OB which not only puts them in the "newly diagnosed" mindset, but they get to have guilt thrown in the mix as well :(


As for your Dr's opinion about anti-virals, he may need to see this from the CDC for his general knowledge: (Point the last sentence out to him ;) )




How do people get genital herpes?


Infections are transmitted through contact with lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also be shed from skin that looks normal. In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10% of days, and on most of those days the person has no signs or symptoms. [4] Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission most commonly occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected. [5]


Now - one thing that is in your "favor" is that because of the nature of lesbian sex, you likely won't be rubbing skin on skin as much as heterosexual sex (which is why women get this more than men ... because of the minor irritations in the very thin skin of the vagina/labia caused during sex creating a portal for the virus to get in). If you engage in a lot of grinding you may want to take the anti-virals. Given you have H2, which really doesn't like the mouth (only 1% of all Oral H is from H2) you should be ok for oral sex. If you use toys, don't switch back and forth between you without first washing or changing condom covers. Just that alone will help to keep your partner much safer.


We have had a few conversations on here about the risk for Lesbians and sadly as far as I know there has not been any research that separates the risk numbers according to your sexuality/partner preference. So the assumptions above are completely going on how we know it passes (direct skin to skin) and the different nature of how each group has sex. ;)



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Update! I had a chat with my ex and asked her to get tested. Her test came back negative! I'm happy for her. I'm glad she doesn't have to deal with it and I appreciate the fact that she wasn't mean or judgmental during our conversation.


So, is it possible that the other girl I was with (who said her test came back negative) just hasn't developed the antibodies yet even though I already have? Perhaps my doctor was wrong when she said that the other girl should have developed antibodies if I have.


This is all quite confusing to me!

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Hmmm - that doesn't make sense if you had definitely been tested after the last GF and were H- and then you came up such a solid H+ after the fling, but she was negative too???? If you were a definite H+ then whoever you got it from *should* be a definite H+ result too.


Not sure what to tell you ... :/

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ok, im confused. ended long relationship in December, tested neg in feb ( was this the igm?) then pos in august. that about sums it up? if so, given the @ 4 month latency period your looking at a minimum of sometime in april as transmission, maybe may at the latest.


I thought igm gave more false positives because it couldn't differentiate between the types of herpes antibodies. ( and there are over 120 fairly common viruses in the herpes family).


it could have been you didn't have the antibodies in feb ( dates would be needed, ie late dec breakup, early feb test is only 2 months). someones nose is growing imho.

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@seeker, I know it's confusing. I'll try to break it down in the easiest possible way:


Dec: ended long-term relationship.

End of Feb: IgG test negative. Had asked to be screened for everything to get the clean slate and my doctor included the Herpes test in that panel.

June-Jul: Summer fling with a girl.

End of August: IgG Type 2 test came back at 6.4

End of Sept: Asked my doctor to test again. IgG came back at 7.2. IgM came back negative.


Also in the end of September, both my ex girlfriend and summer fling have said their tests were negative. I'm very confident that my ex girlfriend wouldn't lie to me about this. Summer fling could have but I also doubt it. I'm confused because my doctor made it seem like if the IgM came back positive it would indicate a new exposure.


Don't get me wrong, I consider myself very lucky that I have not yet had any symptoms. But at the same time, being asymptomatic along with this super weird testing time frame is making it all the more confusing to me.


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My geuss is the fling.

only because with a longterm relationship and u guys are still talking means a bit of trust is still there.

i hooked up with a guy dec 23. On dec 27th had one tiny freckle of size bump. Swab was possitive. Came back jan 3rd.

April blood test negative.

june blood test positve.

So in my case.. it took 6 months for an accurate blood test. If it werent for the swab on dec 27th being possitive, i would be just as confused as you..


It had to be one or the other... unless and i truly hate to say this, the ex cheated, and gave it to you unknowingly so then when she got a blood test done it may still have been a new infection so her blood would have said negative as well...


When did ex get a blood test?



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Yup - sounds to me like the fling is not telling the truth... she will have less invested in telling you the truth anyway and she may be afraid you will tell everyone.


In the end, you may never know for sure... you have told both the women of your status and hopefully they HAVE been tested ... Actually, you may want to ask them what their actual numbers were on their tests ... if they were actually tested they should be able to give them to you ... if they waffle and have excuses, there's a good chance that they were not tested or don't want to give you the numbers :p



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